Employment 

Addressing the employment gap for people on the autism spectrum

Employment 

Employment Pathways Project 2017-18

Funded by Hampshire County Council and European Social Fund, this one year project allowed us to work with over 70 local job seekers who are on the autism spectrum, to enable them to make the next step on their pathway to employment. Our dedicated project team were able to offer and evaluate an autism specialist package of support which included:

  • An Individual Employment Profile (a digital resource created by the Portsmouth University Autism Centre for Employment Research)
  • Autism friendly job application and interview skills courses run in partnership with the National Careers Service
  • Person centred one to one support

We hosted employer events entitled “Autism – an untapped resource”. These events provided business owners, HR directors and those with recruitment responsibilities with information about how and why they should recruit more people on the autism spectrum and how to best enable current employees. Our contacts with employers were further enhanced by the recruitment of Autism Ambassadors in businesses across the county.

Project funding has now come to an end, but Autism Hampshire are committed to finding ways to continue to offer autism specific employment support, to ensure people can move forward on their pathway towards employment.

One tool that people on the autism spectrum may find useful is the jobseekers’ ‘passport’ - developed by the NAS. The "About Me Passport" was designed to enable those with autism, hidden conditions and other disabilities to cross over into the world of employment.

The case studies below show how the project worked for 2 participants (names changed).

Background

Our participant is on the autism spectrum and was 18 years old when she first engaged with us on our employment pathways project. She had a number of good GCSE qualifications but found that her extreme anxiety was getting in the way of her applying for jobs. She was particularly worried about interviews.

Employment Pathways Support

  • Individual Employment Profile
  • 1 to 1 support
  • Administrative work placement at Southampton University Hospital – opportunity made through contact at employer event

Outcome

Currently successfully undertaking her work placement to gain experience and hopefully enter the workplace in a more supportive way, avoiding the stress of a ‘cold’ interview. Southampton University Hospital have created a work experience opportunity tailored to needs for example it is several weeks long to enable additional time to settle in and become familiar with the routine. If the right skills are demonstrated the participant will be supported to apply for a paid job role.

Background

  • ‘A’ level qualifications
  • Male
  • Age 25 years

Participant had a very bad experience in previous job which he left, leaving him with no benefits for several months. He had lost confidence and was feeling very unsure about working again.

Employment Pathways Support

•Individual Employment Profile

•Interview skills and CV workshops

•One to one support to attend job fair and find part time work

Outcomes

This young man now has part time paid employment. The employer attended one of our employer events and due to improved understanding was willing to make a positive allowance for him by fast tracking him to hospitality work, as they could see that the other work would be too hectic and noisy for him. He sees this very much as a step on the pathway to employment which reflects his level of education and reports feeling more confident due to the positive experience he has had. He is now planning to do a work placement with another local employer, something he would not have considered at the start of the project.

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